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Car Accident 101: How to Handle a Hit & Run

Crucial Steps You Need to Take Moments After

In recent years, hit-and-run car accidents have become an increasing problem for drivers. According to Florida law, you must stop and remain at the scene of any car accident to fulfill certain legal duties – especially when the accident involves death, bodily injury, or property damage. These duties include things like exchanging information. If you a hit an unattended car, you must attempt to locate the owner or operator. If no one is available, provide a written notice of the accident to the owner or operator (such as by leaving a note under the windshield wiper). Even after you take these steps after hitting an unattended vehicle, Florida law says you must notify the nearest law enforcement agency of the crash. Failing to follow these steps is what is commonly known as a hit-and-run.

Why do Hit-and-Runs Happen?

The at-fault drivers might turn a car accident into a hit-and-run situation for many different reasons – the person may be avoiding law enforcement, they could have illegal substances or objects in the vehicle, they could be driving under the influence,  they could be wanting to avoid making an insurance claim, or they could be uninsured/underinsured.

An at-fault driver can be held to some serious consequences for committing a hit-and-run no matter what their reason is. At the same time, this can put you in a tough situation if you have been the victim of a hit-and-run car accident and you may not know what to do next. It is best to be educated about what to do next before you find yourself in a situation like this so you can make sure that the other driver is held accountable and you are not responsible for the damages done to yourself or the car.

Don’t Let a Hit-and-Run Catch You Unprepared

Some tips to help you if you have been involved in a hit-and-run situation are listed below. The more details and information you are able to give authorities, the more likely they are able to find the person who accountable for the incident. Steps to take moments after a hit-and-run car accident:

  1. Stay calm – Check to make sure you are okay and check to see if your vehicle is in working enough condition to move off the road as to not obstruct traffic.
  2. Call 911 – Request police to the scene and any medical attention needed.
  3. Write down as much information and details as you can – do this as soon as you can while you remember things most clearly.
    • Time, date, and location of the accident
    • If you WERE present and saw the car that hit you:
      • Color, Make, Model, and License Plate Number of the other car
      • Physical description of driver if possible
      • All damages found to the car
    • If you WERE NOT present for the accident:
      • All damages found to car
      • Condition of the car after the accident
  4. Seek out witnesses and get their contact information –  Witnesses are a crucial factor in hit-and-run cases.
  5. Take pictures of your car and accident scene – if the other car’s paint is visible on the damage this will help to prove you are not trying to defraud your insurance company.

The More Information You Have, The Better!

When Law enforcement arrives, be sure to give them as much information as you can for their report. Making sure you have proper coverage on your vehicle can also be a huge factor in the outcome of a hit-and-run car accident. You may think you have “full coverage”, but you should check your policy to see if it includes Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage.

A hit-and-run car accident can be scary; The process following doesn’t have to be a hassle so long as you are educated ahead of time. Having more information can increase the chances of the police finding who is responsible for the car accident; This can help your insurance company make decisions about your claim.  Insurance companies can also be tough to deal with following a hit-and-run and you should be sure to report the incident to them as soon as possible.

After any car accident, the main priority is your well-being. After that, you want to be sure to have aggressive and experienced representation on your side. If you have any more questions about what to do after a car accident or call Jennifer Meksraitis for a free consultation at (813) 600-3197 or contact her via email.